Full list of women who have accused Joe Biden of inappropriate conduct
The allegations have appeared to mar Biden's prospective presidential candidacy, although Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that the allegations are not the grounds for his disqualification.
A total of seven women have accused former vice president Joe Biden of inappropriate conduct in the last week. After initial allegations by Nevada lieutenant governor nominee, Lucy Flores and former congressional aide Amy Lappos, five more women have added to the accusations — Caitlyn Caruso, DJ Hill, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Sofie Karasek and Ally Coll.
The allegations have appeared to mar Biden's prospective presidential candidacy, although Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that the allegations are not the grounds for his disqualification. “He has to understand in the world that we’re in now that people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it," Pelosi said.
Despite several critics and the Republican Party trying to paint these allegations as sexual harassment, nearly all the accusers have expressly said that they are not accusing the former vice president of sexual assault but of not recognizing and respecting their personal space.
The first woman to lay the allegation of inappropriate conduct from Biden was Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores, who saw a viral picture of Biden and Stephanie Carter with the former vice president resting his hands on the former wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter's shoulders and whispering something in her ear.
Flores said that she found the picture familiar and on Sunday alleged that Biden during her 2014 campaign approached her from behind, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head without her consent, which made her very uncomfortable.
"He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused," Flores claimed in an essay published in The Cut.
"For the record, I don’t believe that it was a bad intention. I’m not in any way suggesting that I felt sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. I felt invaded. I felt there was a violation of my personal space,” she added. “And it’s been dismissed as if it’s just Biden being Biden. Boys will be boys. No big deal. It is a big deal.”
Carter later issued a clarification about the viral picture saying it was "misleadingly extracted," and that he was trying to calm her because she was very nervous at the event.
Three days after Flores' statement, another accuser, former congressional aide Amy Lappos, called Biden's behavior inappropriate alleging that he pulled her head towards him at a political event to "rub noses." The incident reportedly occurred while she was volunteering at a fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, for Representative Jim Himes.
Ex-congressional aide Amy Lappos says former VP Joe Biden reached for her face & rubbed noses with her during a fundraiser in 2009; on Friday, Nevada politician Lucy Flores said Biden approached her from behind, smelled her hair & kissed her head in 2014 https://t.co/sj5Pl1jzKN pic.twitter.com/h4N4z8ohKG— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 2, 2019
“It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Lappos told the Courant. “He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”
The New York Times, a day later published the accounts of two young women who also alleged that Biden touched them in an inappropriate manner.
Caitlyn Caruso, a former college student, and sexual assault survivor said that Biden was attending an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas when she was 19-years-old when he rested his hand on her thigh as she squirmed in her seat to express discomfort. Caruso, now 22, added that he later hugged her “just a little bit too long."
BIDEN VICTIM NUMBER 3: Caitlyn Caruso said Mr. Biden rested his hand on her thigh and hugged her “just a little bit too long” at an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She was 19. @JoeBiden @dncpress @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/Ewogh7xi84— Now The End Begins (@NowTheEndBegins) April 3, 2019
The 22-year-old said that at the time she chalked up the encounter to how men act. However, she added that it was particularly uncomfortable for her because she had just shared her sexual assault story at the event and had expected Biden to understand the importance of physical boundaries considering he was an architect of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.
A writer who met the former vice president in 2012 at a fundraising event in Minneapolis, DJ Hill, was also cited in The Times article alleging inappropriate behavior against Biden.
Hill said that she felt "very uncomfortable" when she and her husband stepped up to take their photograph with Biden and he put his hand on her shoulder and then started dropping it down her back. After seeing the movement, her husband put his hand on the vice president's shoulder and interrupted with a joke. Hill, in the article, said that she did not say anything at the moment, however, she acknowledges that she did not know whether Biden was aware of her discomfort.
“Only he knows his intent,” the writer said, adding that the norms are changing now, and “if something makes you feel uncomfortable, you have to feel able to say it.”
The Washington Post, shortly after the Times article, mentioned accounts of three more women on Thursday who have voiced their objections to Biden's physical conduct. One of the women in the article included Vail Kohnert-Yount. She was a White House intern in 2013 and was once exiting the basement of the West Wing when she was asked to make way for Vice President Biden and step aside. He came over to greet her and shook her hand.
"He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl’,” Kohnert-Yount said in a statement to the Post. She said that she felt embarrassed and uncomfortable by Biden's comments "even though it was intended as a compliment." The former intern, however, added that she believed Biden's intentions were good.
"I do not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment. But it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace," Kohnert-Yount added.
Another account in newspaper's article was on Sofie Karasek who met the Democrat after the Oscars in 2016. Karasek alleged that Biden clasped her hands and placed his forehead against hers. The moment was photographed and widely circulated as a touching moment. She told the outlet that although she appreciated Biden's support, she felt awkward and uncomfortable.
The third woman in the article, identified as Ally Coll, reportedly met Biden when she was a Democratic staffer during the 2008 presidential campaign. She alleged that Biden squeezed her shoulders and complimented her smile and held her "for a beat too long."
“There’s been a lack of understanding about the way that power can turn something that might seem innocuous into something that can make somebody feel uncomfortable,” she said.
Despite these allegations against him, Biden continues to have prominent personalities defending him, including female political leaders. Many of his supporters have argued that the former vice president's gestures of support and greetings were well-intentioned and he used the same methods for both men and women.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
The former vice president, in response to the allegations, released a Twitter video on Wednesday, promising to change his behavior and be more careful about respecting people's personal space. Biden, in the clip, said that he has always hugged both men and women and grabbed their shoulders as an attempt to make a personal connection, however, he believes that the social standards have now changed.
“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful of personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it," Biden said in the clip.